Ambulance diversion is not associated with low acuity patients attending Perth metropolitan emergency departments

Emerg Med Australas. 2005 Feb;17(1):11-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2005.00686.x.


Objective: To examine the relationship between ambulance diversion and low acuity patient (LAP) attendances to EDs.

Methods: Comparison of LAP attendance rates at inner metropolitan EDs and outer metropolitan EDs using a previously validated methodology.

Results: The percentage of LAP attendances was lower at inner metropolitan EDs (11.4%, 95% CI 11.3-11.6) compared to outer metropolitan hospitals (22.9%, 95% CI 22.6-23.2, P < 0.001). The proportion of LAP attendances was slightly higher at both inner and outer metropolitan hospitals after-hours compared to working hours. Average daily LAP attendances per inner metropolitan hospital (13.4 attendances, 95% CI 13.2-13.6) which averaged 89.2 min of diversion daily (95% CI 88.7-89.7) were lower than at outer metropolitan hospitals (19.3 attendances, 95% CI 19.0-19.6, P < 0.001), which averaged 12.4 min of diversion daily (95% CI 12.1-12.5, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Inner metropolitan hospitals experience low LAP attendance rates. Attempts to further reduce LAP attendance rates at Perth inner metropolitan hospitals have limited scope to reduce ambulance diversion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulances / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Urban / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suburban Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Triage / statistics & numerical data
  • Western Australia